Jonathan Hill Dot EU

A Soapbox for Uninformed Opinions

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Kvelertak Nattesferd Review

General Information:

Artist: Kvelertak
Album: Nattesferd
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Hard Rock, Punk Rock
Released: 2016
Length: 47 minutes
Language(s): Norwegian
Label(s): Roadrunner

Track List:

01. Dendrofil for Yggdrasil
02. 1985
03. Nattesferd
04. Svartmesse
05. Bronsegud
06. Ondskapens Galakse
07. Berserkr
08. Heksebrann
09. Nekrodamus

Kvelertak Nattesferd Cover

Kvelertak Nattesferd Cover

Kvelertak Nattesferd Review

Nattesferd is the third studio album by Norwegian rock band Kvelertak. While they have been referred to as a black metal/rock hybrid in the past it is hardly relevant to Nattesferd because Dendrofil for Yggdrasil is the only black metal song, along with part of Berserkr, on the entire album. Almost everything else is broadly hard rock or punk rock filtered through the lo-fi aesthetic of black metal with a vomitus vocal style spraying all over the music. The lyrics all happen to be in Norwegian and given how they’re delivered it is questionable how intelligible they are, even to a native speaker.

After opening with a black metal song, Kvelertak immediately shifts to hard rock and then alternates between that and punk rock up to and including Ondskapens Galakse. The fusion and alternation of all these different elements is novel but in practice comes across as disjointed (and arguably unfocused) despite the sincerity and passion that the band clearly possesses. The vocal style doesn’t suit any of the hard rock songs and they detract from the experience since songs in this subgenre tend to sound powerful and spirited, whereas this leaves you lacklustre and wanting an actual singer that could have really made the songs into something special.

Berserkr, as the name implies, goes all out with the aggression and wild experimentation in which they blend all three styles into a single song. The majority of the song is black metal meets punk rock and from the bridge onwards the hard rock influences seep back in. To Kvelertak’s credit this is pulled of remarkably well and is certainly a highlight of Nattesferd, as is Bronsegud, a short and punchy hardcore punk flavoured song where the vocal style seems to fit almost naturally.

The last two songs on the album, Heksebrann and Nekrodamus, are almost yin and yang to each other. Heksebrann is a curveball at 9 minutes long while drawing on progressive rock and having a large instrumental section lasting about 4 minutes at the beginning. This contrasts with Nekrodamus, which continues the Kvelertak tradition of having “Nekro” in a song title, and is the complete antithesis of Heksebrann. This song sees hard rock stripped back to the basics and is much slower compared to the other songs, which once again take the listener in an unexpected direction, but is a bit longer than it needs to be.

It’s always good to hear a band perform in their native language and for anyone to embrace the spirit of rock wholeheartedly to the same extent that Kvelertak does. However, the scattershot approach to writing for several subgenres is often inconsistent and they seem to rely on the unpolished aesthetics and consistent use of harsh vocals to add a cohesive thread to the album.

Performers:

Erlend Hjelvik: Vocals
Vidar Landa: Guitar
Bjarte Lund Rolland: Guitar, Piano
Maciek Ofstad: Guitar, Vocals
Marvin Nygaard: Bass
Kjetil Gjermundrød: Drums

External Links:

Kvelertak Homepage
Kvelertak on Wikipedia
Nattesferd on Wikipedia

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The Cinematic Orchestra Man With a Movie Camera Review

General Information:

Artist: The Cinematic Orchestra
Album: Man With a Movie Camera
Genre(s): Nu Jazz
Subgenres(s): N/A
Released: 2003
Length: 61 minutes
Language(s): N/A
Label(s): Ninja Tune

Track List:

01. The Projectionist
02. Melody
03. Dawn
04. The Awakening of a Woman (Burnout)
05. Reel Life (Evolution II)
06. Postlude
07. Evolution (Versao Portuense)
08. Work It! (Man With the Movie Camera)
09. Voyage
10. Odessa
11. Theme de Yoyo
12. The Magician
13. Theme Reprise
14. Yoyo Waltz
15. Drunken Tune
16. The Animated Tripod
17. All Thing

The Cinematic Orchestra Man With a Movie Camera Cover

The Cinematic Orchestra Man With a Movie Camera Cover

The Cinematic Orchestra Man With a Movie Camera Review

Man With a Movie Camera is the third album and first soundtrack from the British nu jazz group The Cinematic Orchestra. Written to accompany the silent 1929 Soviet Russian documentary by Dziga Vertov, The Cinematic Orchestra use a modern approach to jazz music that focuses on the song as a whole (as opposed to each instrumentalist in the spontaneous bebop or the arranged cool jazz traditions) that are accompanied by an electronic backdrop.

In some parts of Man With a Movie Camera the nu jazz genre is synthesised well and in others it feels out of place or makes little sense. The Projectionist is literally 6 seconds of a high pitched noise, followed by a 20 second snippet of an old jazz recording titled Melody that is only listed as “trad.” in the writing credits. It is treated to a brief echoing fadeout before we get to Dawn, the third track and first actual song.

Dawn features a string trio consisting of a violin, viola and cello that perform a slow, repetitive melody for much of the song as samples of birds tweeting, keyboard ambience and other sound effects litter the soundscape. This leads into The Awakening of a Woman (Burnout), which as the subtitle suggests is a reinterpretation of the song Burn Out from their 2002 album Every Day, and the organ sound of the original has been overshadowed by the string trio and different electronic interjections. The song slowly builds up and will engross the listener in the same way that the six minute instrumental reinterpretation of All Things to All Men does (simply retitled All Things). It is cut down from the original ten minute version and lacks the presence of rapper Roots Manuva so that The Cinematic Orchestra can concentrate on building the atmosphere of the song which still contains the sinister Main Title piece of music by John Barry for the 1968 drama film Petulia.

There are two more interludes found later in the album and both of them throw the atmosphere completely out the window and make it impossible to justify their inclusion. The first of these is Voyage, which follows on as a separate track from the memorable Work It! (Man With the Movie Camera) but it is nothing but a high pitched steamboat horn crashing through your cranium with a swirling ambient noise playing between the two blasts of it.

At this point the listener is then introduced to the second half of Man With a Movie Camera and the songs are much shorter with all but two of them being under three minutes long. The listener is treated to Odessa, a solo piano piece, following the horrific steamboat ordeal as well as a lighter jazz-centric song (Theme de Yoyo) and a minimalist piano piece called The Magician. Unfortunately the mood is once again thrown off by The Animated Tripod. This is literally 72 seconds of bleeps and bloops with a piano chord and static thrown in at the end to bring the piece to a crashing finish and without the visuals of the documentary for context this makes no sense on the album. The aforementioned All Things brings the album to a close and soothes some of the annoyances found earlier on but they will undoubtedly leave the listener with a negative impression.

Within the context of watching the documentary this soundtrack makes far more sense but as a stand-alone release it doesn’t translate nearly as well and at times comes across as a mixed bag with ill-advised interludes and worthy highlights rubbing shoulders with some other inconsistencies that prevent the album from being what it could be.

A link to the documentary with the Cinematic Orchestra soundtrack overlaid can be found at the bottom of this review and begins 3 minutes and 37 seconds in.

Performers:

Luke Flowers: Drums
Phil France: Double Bass
Jon Ellis: Piano/Keyboards
Tom Chant: Saxophones
Patrick Carpenter: Turntables/Electronics
Milo Fell: Percussion
Prabjote Osahn: Violin
Antonia Pagulatos: Viola
Wayne Urquhart: Cello

External Links:

The Cinematic Orchestra Homepage
The Cinematic Orchestra on Wikipedia
Man With a Movie Camera on Wikipedia

Man With a Movie Camera Documentary with The Cinematic Orchestra Soundtrack:

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Ahab The Call of the Wretched Sea Review

General Information:

Artist: Ahab
Album: The Call of the Wretched Sea
Genre(s): Heavy Metal
Subgenres(s): Funeral Doom
Released: 2006
Length: 67 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Deviant Records, Napalm Records

Track List:

01. Below the Sun
02. The Pacific
03. Old Thunder
04. Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales
05. The Sermon
06. The Hunt
07. Ahab’s Oath

Ahab The Call of the Wretched Sea Cover

Ahab The Call of the Wretched Sea Cover

Ahab The Call of the Wretched Sea Review

The Call of the Wretched Sea is the debut album of German funeral doom metal band Ahab. By combining one of the most niche subgenres in heavy metal with their interpretation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Ahab create a gripping atmosphere which holds ones imagination as they take you on a voyage of murky obsession.

The atmosphere really is the key to The Call of the Wretched Sea and this even extends to the vocal performance of Daniel Droste, who performs death growls at a staggeringly slow pace that, at times, gives the impression that his voice is part of the soundscape rather than a focal point of the music as you would expect in most other forms of music. This is of course detrimental to the lyrical aspect that they are praised for because if you want any chance of comprehending them then you will need to have the lyrics in front of you when listening to The Call of the Wretched Sea.

Ahab have their sound expertly crafted, that much should be self-evident to any listener early into the album, but their song-writing still leaves something to be desired. This album is 67 minutes long and there isn’t nearly enough variety to justify so much material, especially when five of the songs are upwards of ten minutes long and mostly rely on the same simple approach to playing – the lack of melody or memorable riffs blurs everything into one overly long song. The only exceptions are Old Thunder, which delves into the somewhat more up-tempo territory of the death-doom hybrid genre and the second is the interlude Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales which leads directly into The Sermon to create a two part song with the drastic change in sound being half the reason it stands out as much as it does.

There are some other sections sprinkled throughout the album in an attempt to diversify their sound and the first example of this is the highly memorable ambient introduction to Below the Sun that is followed by a thunderous shift to metal as ushered in by drummer Cornelius Althammer. The Sermon contains an extended break in the middle of the song that conjures a compelling stormy sea setting that departs entirely from metal. By using recordings of wind interwoven with minimalist clear guitar playing and a spoken word performance that sounds like it has come from an ancient recording Ahab effectively demonstrate what they are capable of doing outside of the realm of metal.

A better balance of these elements, as well as cutting down the overall length of The Call of the Wretched Sea, would have gone a long way but if you want a metal album that truly does bring atmosphere to the forefront then this is an ideal starting point.

Performers:

Daniel Droste: Vocals, Electric guitar
Christian Hector: Guitar
Stephan Adolph: Bass guitar, guitar, vocals
Cornelius Althammer: Drums

External Links:

Ahab Homepage
Ahab on Wikipedia
The Call of the Wretched Sea on Wikipedia

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Rabbit Junk Rabbit Junk Review

General Information:

Artist: Rabbit Junk
Album: Rabbit Junk
Genre(s): Digital Hardcore
Subgenres(s): N/A
Released: 2004
Length: 51 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Rabbitjunk.com (Original release) / Full Effect Records (Rerelease)

Track List:

01. Orange Laces
02. Plastical
03. Not Owned
04. Washout
05. I Vote Bolshevik Lite
06. Punkass
07. Walking on the Moon (The Police Cover)
08. Fingaprints
09. Inside My House
10. ISO vs Life
11. I Vote Bolshevik Lite (Cyanotic Remix) / You Deserve to Die (Hidden Track)

Rabbit Junk Rabbit Junk Cover

Rabbit Junk Rabbit Junk Cover

Rabbit Junk Rabbit Junk Review

Rabbit Junk is the debut album and name of the American digital hardcore solo act created by JP Anderson. Fusing hardcore punk with elements of drum and bass, hip hop and other electronic influences it marks a significant departure from The Shizit, an electronic duo composed of JP Anderson and Brian Shrader between 1999 and 2002.

While they focused on a drum and bass/gabber/hardcore techno fusion with some punk rock influences the three year gap between The Shizit’s last album and Rabbit Junk’s first gives the impression that a musical transformation happened for JP Anderson outside the studio. As such it was never recorded so the links connecting the bands and JP Anderson’s new artistic vision are thin, especially when considering how productive The Shizit were in releasing three albums in their short-lived career. This would have probably been a surprise for longstanding fans even though it should be noted that the high energy performance and aggression has not dissipated.

Right out of the gate the listener is greeted with a heavily distorted guitar that builds with rock drumming and synthesisers before giving way a frenzied combination of drum and bass beats and blown out guitar noise with some synthesisers weaving their way into the mix for a clearer sense of melody. Other songs such as Plastical, Punkass, Fingaprints and ISO Vs Life all contain some elements of hip hop ranging from turntablism, rapped vocals (on ISO Vs Life) and samples of NWA on Punkass to further blur the lines between genres. Unlike most bands Rabbit Junk manage to do this without really stepping into nu metal territory as many rock-orientated bands do when flirting with hip hop. On Fingaprints we hear all of the elements coming together at their best from the looped and distorted vocal frenzies interlaced with turntable scratches right thought to the blown-out guitars and sheer intensity that it results in. The title of the song relates to the lyrics found in the extended mid-song interlude that gives you room to breathe with JD Anderson lamenting that “my hands are black from the matches in my pocket/so far, I’ve only burnt myself.”

Unexpectedly there is a cover of the reggae song Walking on the Moon by The Police, originally released in 1979, which seems like an unusual choice given how it contrasts so much with Rabbit Junk’s aggressive genre mashup. With 25 years between their releases and almost as many genres apart it doesn’t help make sense of the choice initially. Having said this, JP Anderson turns the song into something of his own which works well for the Rabbit Junk sound. Some parts of the cover are virtually unrecognisable from the original, such as the chant accompanied by ambient sound effects at the beginning before using turntables and the bass guitar to give the song momentum. The tempo is a bit faster than the original version so it lacks the same relaxed pace and atmosphere which is then thrown out the window when it turns in to a punk rock song for the chorus.

The rerelease of Rabbit Junk has two songs on the final track, the first being a remix of I Vote Bolshevik Lite by industrial metal band Cyanotic and the second is a hidden song called You Deserve to Die which tagged on the end of the track. It is a live acoustic song with delightfully dark and sarcastic lyrics dealing with a revenge murder which the crowd gleefully sing along to, giving it an unintentionally surreal twist.

Through Rabbit Junk JP Anderson proudly carries the digital hardcore banner while adding his own flair the broad mix without strict regard for genre conventions. This makes the album versatile and uncompromising in a way that most others simply cannot be so for anyone that enjoys music that blurs genre lines then Rabbit Junk should be on their list.

Performers:

JP Anderson: Vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, programming, song-writing, lyrics
Jennifer “Sum Grrl” Bernert: Backing vocals

External Links:

Rabbit Junk Homepage
Rabbit Junk on Wikipedia
Rabbit Junk (album) on Wikipedia